A while back, I acquired a drum set for $50. I got a kick, snare, and three toms, but no cymbals or stands. Because the set was so cheap, I was unwilling to spend over $50 to complete it, but cymbals are expensive, and so are stands!
By a stroke of luck, I was given hi-hat cymbals and a crash for free. Although they are crappy Starcaster cymbals, they make cymbal noises, so I'm happy. But I still needed a hi-hat stand, and the cheapest ones I saw were $50-$60. Unacceptable!
I googled around a bit and could not find any information on building my own hi-hat stand. Perhaps it's been done before, but I couldn't find anything. However, the concept seemed simple enough, so I decided to tackle it on my own.
I was able to do this project for just under $23. This is partly because my mother works at a hardware store and I get sizable discounts, but other parts of the country are much cheaper than here in Washington State.
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Step 1: The Parts
- 3/8"-16 x 36" threaded rod (Note: you may actually only need a 24" rod)
- 1/2" x 12" pipe (Note: the picture shows two, but I only used one)
- 1/2" x 8" pipe (2x)
- 1/2" x 3" pipe (2x)
- 3/4" x 6" pipe (4x)
- 1" x 2" pipe
- 1" coupling
- 1" x 1/2" bell reduction coupling
- 1/2" x 1" hex bushing (female x male)
- 1/2" 90º ell (2x)
- 1/2" x 3/4" x 3/4" tee (2x)
- 1/2" cross
- 13/16" x 3-1/4" x 0.62 WG compression spring
- 3/8"-16 nylon locking nuts (2x)
- 3/8" x 1" washer
- 3/8" wingnut
- 3/8"-16 x 1/4"-20 reducing coupling nut
- 3/8" x 3/8" x 1" nylon spacer (2x)
- 1/2" x 3/8" x 1" nylon spacer
- 3/8" x 1-1/2" rubber washer (2x)
- 1/2" x 2" rubber washer
- 1/4"-20 x 2" eye bolt (nut is not necessary)
- 6" or so of chain
- Hi-hat cymbals, of course!
Step 2: The Spring Housing (Internal)
This is where the magic happens! What I'm calling the spring housing the section in the middle of the stand that holds the spring and gives the hi-hat its spring action.
First, you'll need to thread one of the locking nuts down from the top of the threaded rod until the bottom of the nut (the part without the nylon) is about 16" from the bottom of the rod. Because it's a locking nut, this can take a while. You'll need some way to hold the rod in place (such as vice grips with a towel so as not to ruin the threads) while you work the nut with a wrench. As a caution, the rod got surprisingly warm doing this.
Once the nut is threaded on, slide the metal washer up under the nut, followed by the spring. This forms the internal mechanism.
Step 3: The Spring Housing (External)
Construct the external housing using the 1/2" x 1" bushing, 1" coupling, 1" x 2" nipple, and 1" x 1/2" bell coupling, as shown in the first picture. Excluding the bell, screw the first three parts together to form the bottom of the housing.
Slide this up the bottom of the rod to enclose the spring, and slide the bell down the top, screwing the bell onto the bottom to complete the spring housing.
Note: this relies on the fact that the spring will not fit through the 1/2" opening on the bottom. Make sure your spring is wide enough, or you will need to use a second washer on the bottom to keep the spring in. Also, make sure your top washer will not fit through the bell.
Step 4: The Post
Finish up the post of the stand by screwing the 1/2" x 12" pipe onto the bottom of the housing.
If you want to make the stand taller, you can add a shorter pipe on top of the housing as you see fit. I originally used a second 1/2" x 12" pipe on the top, but that turned out to make the stand much too high. After trying a shorter 4" pipe, I decided to leave out the top pipe all together and mount the cymbals straight on top of the spring housing.
Step 5: The Base
The base makes use of the 3/4" pipes. I did this for added weight and sturdiness, although it is probably not necessary to change pipe sizes. I apologize for the lack of assembly photos, although it should be pretty straightforward by looking at the finished product.
First, build the top of the base by screwing the 1/2" x 3" pipes into opposite sides of the 1/2" cross. Then screw the 1/2" 90º ells onto the ends of these pipes, ensuring that the both point down, lined up with one of the other holes on the cross.
Next, build both feet. Screw the 1/2" pipe into the 1/2" x 3/4" x 3/4" tee, and then screw a 3/4" x 6" pipe into either side. Repeat this for the other foot.
Finally, screw the feet into the angle pieces on the top of base, and make sure the feet are aligned.
With base complete, attach the post by screwing the bottom pipe of the post onto the cross on the base.
Note: you'll probably want to use a couple pipe wrenches to ensure that the pipes are properly lined up and tightened down.
Step 6: The Pedal
To install the foot pedal, you'll first want to attach the chain to the eye bolt. I did this by clipping off the top of the last link in the chain, bending it around the eye bolt, and twisting it to secure it.
Then screw the eye bolt into the 3/8" x 1/4" coupling nut, and, pushing down the rod so it sticks out the bottom, screw the coupling onto the rod at the cross piece.
With the chain mechanism in place, fashion a pedal and attach it to the chain. I used a piece of OSB and screwed a little hook onto it, and then hooked it onto the chain. This is only temporary, but it works just fine.
Step 7: The Cymbals
Finally, you need to install the cymbals. First slide the 1/2" nylon spacer and rubber washer onto the stand at the top, and then put the bottom cymbal on top of these. A 1/2" inner diameter is used so the rod can slide freely through them, since the bottom cymbal needs to stay in place.
Then thread on the second nylon locking nut to where you want the top cymbal to sit. I found the easiest way to do this was to hold the rod with vice grips and a rag while I threaded the nut. Unfortunately, because it's a locking nut, your hi-hat will not be easy to adjust, but hopefully you won't have to adjust it often.
Then slide on one 3/8" nylon spacer and rubber washer, then the top hi-hat, and then the second rubber washer and nylon spacer. Tighten the top cymbal down with the wingnut.
Step 8: The Result and the Future
I'm rather pleased with how this project turned out. The design wasn't hard, the parts weren't too expensive, and the build wasn't complicated, and now I have a very functional and decent-sounding hi-hat addition to my drum set!
You may want to make some improvements on my design. If you do, be sure to let me know. I'd love to see what you've done!
- Put end caps on the feet. This will help keep the stand from wobbling, although your foot does a pretty good job keeping it stable.
- Fashion a better foot pedal. A piece of OSB is not the most attractive pedal, and it could also be secured to the base in some way.
- Make it easily adjustable. Some sort of DIY clutch for adjusting the hat height would be nice, as well as an easy way to adjust the overall height.
- Make it look pretty. I plan on painting mine soon, probably some crazy color.